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Westlothiana lizziae from the Viséan of East Kirkton, West Lothian, Scotland, and the amniote stem

  • T. R. Smithson (a1), R. L. Carroll (a2), A. L. Panchen (a3) and S. M. Andrews (a4)

Westlothiana lizziae is known from the Brigantian of East Kirkton, Scotland. The skull resembles that of later amniotes in the large size of the parietal, the apparent loss of the intertemporal, and the absence of a squamosal notch, palatal fangs and labyrinthine infolding of the marginal teeth, but is primitive in the absence of a transverse flange of the pterygoid. The individual trunk vertebrae resemble those of amniotes; large intercentra are retained, but the neural arch is fused to the centrum. A surprising feature is the presence of 36 presacral vertebrae, as is the relative size of the very small but highly ossified limbs. The humerus is much shorter than the femur, but similar in configuration to that of early amniotes. There are three proximal tarsals as in primitive tetrapods, but an amniote phalangeal count. The presence of massive dorsal as well as ventral scales is a more primitive feature than that of most anthracosaurs.

Westlothiana is ‘reptiliomorph’, and is judged to be a stem-group amniote on features of the skull roof, the absence of an otic notch, the gastrocentrous vertebrae and the pedal phalangeal formula. It has not, however, reached the amniote condition in the structure of the tarsus, and the palate is more primitive than that of both early amniotes and the ‘diadectomorphs’.

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